UK Politics

This Charming Man

David Aaronovitch’s latest article in the Times has a number of points to make in relation to Iran which are worth spending a couple of minutes considering, including his conclusion that military action against it by the West is unlikely.

On a different aspect of the West’s relations with Iran it becomes clear after reading the article it that it’s not just those in formal political alliance with the Islamists who bend over backwards to excuse the Islamic Republic. Here’s Lord Phillips, a Liberal Democratic peer quoted just before the infamous “wipe Israel off the map” outburst on the maker of the statement, Iranian President Ahmadinejad:

a “self-made man with a good doctorate in engineering, who lives in modest circumstances and has a reputation for incorruptibility”.

There’s no blatant lie in that sentence but it’s hardly the whole truth either is it? Ahmadinejad’s male supremacy, illiberalism and anti-semitism would have to be added to the mix for a properly revealing picture to emerge. Phillips doesn’t consider that his job though, and would rather talk about something else:

Where in the West does one find the main thoroughfares and squares named after poets?” the Uppingham and Cambridge educated peer wonders.

Berlin. Paris. Rome. Just about everywhere, in fact, except Britain

responds the journalist caustically.

Aaronovitch is right about the continental cities, they’re full of streets and squares named after poets and other literary figures: though he plays down this country as a cursory look at this map will reveal.

Talking about our philistine Western approach to poetry, it’s worth noting that the last call for Norm’s poets poll ran out yesterday. Maybe you could sneak in a last minute vote for your favourite if he hasn’t started crunching the numbers yet.